2019 Judges

Tally Shorts Film Festival gives out two judged awards every year. The Tally Shorts Favorite Award is given to the best overall film in the festival. The Florida Favorite Award is given to the best film originating from Florida.

We’d like to give a big thank you to our distinguished panel of judges who had the unenviable task of picking the lone winners from an extremely high quality grouping of films.

Mike Armstrong

Dr. Malcolm (Mike) Armstrong is a Professor in the Division of Communications and Humanities at Tallahassee Community College. He earned a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Florida State University, and a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication from California State University, Chico. He currently teaches communication and film courses at TCC. Dr. Armstrong has also served as a post-production coordinator for several Hollywood produced films, as well as being a script consultant for several independently produced film and television production companies.

Brandy Berry

Brandy’s numerous film credits include writer of Blockenstin (2009), Before the Dawn, BTD (2012), and Freshwater (2016) which she also directed and produced.

Russ Franklin

Franklin is the author of the novel, Cosmic Hotel.  He has degrees in math, physics, and literature, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and a Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University, as well as a Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State University. His work has appeared in Oxford American, Alaska Quarterly Review, Greensboro Review and other publications.  He currently teaches writing at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Bettye Grable

Bettye is the president of the Florida A&M University Faculty Senate and an Associate Professor in the FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. During her 20-year career as a media practitioner, Grable has been a journal writer for the Florida House of Representatives, promotions director for WSRZ radio in Sarasota, FL, television host for the public affairs television show FAMU Today, and the director of public information at Manatee Community College. She is one of the Founding Editorial Board Members of the Journal for Case Studies in Strategic Communication at the University of Southern California.

Christopher Hayes

Chris Hayes is a poet whose works have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Gettysburg Review, The Apalachee Review, and several other national literary magazines. He has won the Erskine J. Prize for Poetry from Smartish Pace and the Oboh Poetry Prize from Boxcar Review. He holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University and currently teaches there as a professor in the College of Business.

Laura Johnson

Laura W. Johnson is the Executive Director of Southern Shakespeare Company and a professional stage/film actor. Laura has performed with regional and local theatre companies including Resurgens Theatre at the New American Shakespearean Tavern, Canopy Roads Theatre Company, Irish Repertory Theater, Southern Shakespeare Company, and Theatre Tallahassee. Johnson was most recently seen on the Ruby Diamond Auditorium stage in Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra’s Requiem of Defiance and has served as Adjudicator for the SETC. Laura has been most recently recognized for her work promoting arts and culture in the Capital City. Laura is highly visible in episodic television, indie films, commercials, and as the on-air host for the Multi-state Powerball.

Antonio Mendez

Antonio Méndez is a director and screenwriter, whose film, Life and Nothing At All was recently named a winner at 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Mendez’s short film work has won awards for Best Latino Director from the East Coast by the DGA, Best Short by the L.A. Film Festival, and Best Spanish Short by the national Spanish state TV channel TVE. Mendez is co-founder of Aquí y Allí Films, a feature film production company with a special interest in fostering the work of young filmmakers. Born in Madrid, Mendez earned a law degree before moving to the U.S. to develop his filmmaking career, where he earned an MFA from Columbia University.

Mary Jane Ryals

Mary Jane Ryals is the Poet Laureate of Florida’s Big Bend Region. Nominated in 2008, Ryals will hold the title until 2012. She brings the world of poetry to schools and literary events in Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, and other north Florida counties. Her latest book of poems is The Moving Waters, published by Kitsune Press in 2008. Ryals has been involved with the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Competition, Florida State University’s Valencia, Spain Study Abroad Program, the Tallahassee Writers’ Association Festival of Books, and the literary magazine, Apalachee Review. Ryals won the 2010 bronze metal from the Florida Book Awards for her novel, Cookie & Me.

Sue Stetzmann

Stetzmann is a ceramic artist who create large, public art murals and sculptures that resemble buildings.  Mostly self-taught, she also studied at the University of Arts in Philadelphia.  She is the founder of Tallahassee Clay Arts.